Press release

28 Aug 2020 Houston, US

EY Announces Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2020 Gulf Coast Area Award Finalists

Celebrating the unstoppable entrepreneurs whose ambitions transform our world

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Related topics Entrepreneur Unstoppables

Celebrating the unstoppable entrepreneurs whose ambitions transform our world

Ernst & Young LLP (EY US) today announced the finalists for the Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2020 Gulf Coast Area Award. Now in its 34th year, the Entrepreneur Of The Year program honors successful business leaders whose ambitions deliver innovation, growth and prosperity as they build and sustain groundbreaking companies that transform our world. These 31 business leaders were selected as finalists by a panel of independent judges.

Award winners will be announced during a special virtual event on October 6, 2020 and will join the ranks of a lifelong community of esteemed Entrepreneur Of The Year alumni from around the world. This year, unstoppable entrepreneurs who have provided extraordinary support to their communities, employees and others during the COVID-19 crisis will also be recognized for their courage, resilience and ingenuity.

The 2020 Gulf Coast Area finalists are:

  • Scott Ballard, Owner, Steven Ballard, Owner and Paul Ballard, Owner, Ballard Brands, Covington, La.
  • Hachem Domloj, President, CIVE, Houston
  • Andrew Bruce, Founder & CEO, Data Gumbo, Houston
  • Nick Dhanani, CEO, Dhanani Private Equity Group, Houston
  • Gary Walston, Co-Founder & CEO, Dolphin Debit Access LLC, Spring, Texas
  • Jamie Welch, President & CEO, EagleClaw Midstream Ventures, Houston
  • Kenny D. DesOrmeaux, CEO, Ecoserv, Abbeville, La.
  • Richard Wolfe, CEO, Empyrean Benefit Solutions Inc., Houston
  • Robert Savoie, Geocent, Metairie, La.
  • Mohammed Ali Dhanani, CEO, HAZA Group, Sugar Land, Texas
  • Sashi Narahari, Founder & CEO, HighRadius, Houston
  • Brian Cameron, CEO, Saqib Dhanani, Managing Partner, Zeeshan Makhani, Managing Partner and Karim Solanji, Managing Partner, HIREtech, Houston
  • Jeff Metzler, CEO, LoneStar Electric Supply, Houston
  • Zawadi Bryant, CEO and Anastasia Gentles MD, CMO, NightLight Pediatric Urgent Care, Sugar Land, Texas
  • Tom Vo, CEO, Nutex Health, Houston
  • Eric M. Elfman, Founder & CEO, Onit, Houston
  • Brett Witte, Founder & CEO, Premier Coil Solutions, Inc., Waller, Texas
  • Holli Ladhani, President & CEO, Select Energy Services, Houston
  • Tom San Miguel, President & CEO, SGR Energy, Houston
  • Read Boles, Chairman, Texas Tamale Company, Houston
  • Eric G. Bing, CEO, The College of Healthcare Professions, Houston
  • Jim Clawson, President, CEO & Owner, Third Coast Packaging Inc., Pearland, Texas
  • Mike Vellano, President & CEO, Vortex Companies, Houston
  • Brandon Landry, CEO & Founder, Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux, Baton Rouge, La.
  • Stephen M. Johnson, Founder & Vice Chairman, WaterBridge Operating LLC, Houston

Entrepreneur Of The Year is one of the preeminent competitive business awards for entrepreneurs and leaders of high-growth companies. Finalists were evaluated based on six criteria, including overcoming adversity; financial performance; societal impact and commitment to building a values-based company; innovation; and talent management. Since its launch, the program has expanded to recognize business leaders in more than 145 cities in over 60 countries throughout the world.

“Our Gulf Coast Area finalists are making a true difference in our communities by inspiring innovation and fueling economic growth,” said Travis Garms, Gulf Coast Area Entrepreneur Of The Year Director. “They have been selected by our independent panel of judges for their grit, persistence and care for their employees and other stakeholders. We thank them for leading us toward what’s next.”

Regional award winners are eligible for consideration for the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Awards, to be announced in November during a virtual awards gala. The Entrepreneur Of The Year National Overall Award winner will then move on to compete for the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Award in June 2021.

Entrepreneur Of The Year Award winners become lifetime members of a global, multi-industry community of award winners, with exclusive, ongoing access to the experience, insight and wisdom of fellow alumni and other ecosystem members in over 60 countries — all supported by vast EY resources.


Gulf Coast Area Focus

Each year, EY US showcases successful entrepreneurs from 20 regional competitions across the United States. In 2019, 10 entrepreneurs leading companies from Gulf Coast Area were selected as Entrepreneur Of The Year Award winners. Past award winners in Gulf Coast Area include: William Leslie Doggett, Sr., Doggett Equipment Service Group;  Brandon Dewan, Eagle Pipe LLC; Stuart Bradie, KBR, Inc.; Ann G. Fox, Nine Energy Service Inc.; Kevin McEvoy, Oceaneering International Inc.; Cindy B. Taylor, Oil States International, Inc.; Bill Way, Southwestern Energy; Steve V. Pate, Strike LLC; Mike Appling, TNT Crane & Rigging, Inc.; Chris Meaux, Waitr Holdings, Inc.

For information on the Entrepreneur Of The Year Gulf Coast Area program, please visit


Founded and produced by Ernst & Young LLP, the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards are nationally sponsored by SAP America and the Kauffman Foundation.

In Gulf Coast Area, sponsors also include Colliers International, DLA Piper, ADP, LLC, SolomonEdwards, Pierpont Communications and Houston Business Journal.

About Entrepreneur Of The Year®

Entrepreneur Of The Year® is the world’s most prestigious business awards program for unstoppable entrepreneurs. These visionary leaders deliver innovation, growth and prosperity that transform our world. The program engages entrepreneurs with insights and experiences that foster growth. It connects them with their peers to strengthen entrepreneurship around the world. Entrepreneur Of The Year is the first and only truly global awards program of its kind. It celebrates entrepreneurs through regional and national awards programs in more than 145 cities in over 60 countries. Winners go on to compete for the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ title.

About EY Private

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